A biennial, infrequently perennial herb with a thick taproot, fleshy root but no stem. The aerial part consists of many prickly leaves notched along both edges, arranged in the form of a rosette 40-50 cm in diameter, in the middle of which there is a large inflorescence – a basket with a diameter of 10-12 cm; on the flat bottom of the basket are attached perfectly arranged tubular numerous flowers. Instead of a calyx, there are many hairs within the flower. Corolla of 5 petals; stamens – 5, fused with their anthers, at the base of which there are villous processes; pistil with lower ovary. The fruit is an achene (achena) with a feathery tuft at the top. The outer wrapper of the basket consists of prickly, smaller leaves. Blooms from July to September.
It occurs in grassy dry areas in the foothills and low-mountain parts at an altitude of more than 1000 m.
The roots are used medicinally. The root contains 1-2% essential oil, tannins, resinous substances, 12-18% insulin, etc.
The essential oil has antibacterial properties. It is prescribed as a diuretic, spasmodic and diaphoretic, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent for kidney diseases; promotes sputum production in bronchitis; in veterinary medicine it is used as an anthelmintic. Externally used for boils, wounds and skin diseases.
Raw materials are used in the form of tincture 1:10, 15-20 drops 2-3 times every day and water infusion: 15-30 g of crushed dry root is poured into 0.5 liters of boiling water (dose for 2 days).
Inside, they also take powder from the root 2-3 times every day at the tip of a knife.
For external washing, a decoction is prepared as follows: 50 g of chopped root is boiled for 30 minutes with 0.5 liters of water or vinegar.
In Bulgarian folk medicine, thorny root is prescribed for many diseases in the form of a decoction: as a diuretic for dropsy, colds, inflammation and pain in the kidneys and bladder, against hemorrhoids, skin rashes, lichen on the skin, worms and tapeworms, with nervous exhaustion, loss of strength, seizures, etc.